Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders A/HRC/10/12, 12 February 2009
I. ACTIVITIES DURING THE REPORTING PERIOD
C. Cooperation with the United Nations system and intergovernmental organizations
21. On 24 October 2008, the Special Rapporteur presented her first report (A/63/288) to the General Assembly, in which she presented her vision and defined her priorities for the mandate. In her report, the Special Rapporteur outlined her methods of work, which build on those developed by the Special Representative, including communications and country visits. The priorities outlined by the Special Rapporteur are: the analysis of trends and challenges, and the reinforcement of scrutiny of defenders exposed to specific violations and attacks, including women defenders; defenders working on economic, social and cultural rights; defenders working on the rights of minorities, indigenous peoples and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people; defenders working on past abuses; and defenders engaged in student protests. The Special Rapporteur expressed her intention to continue the analysis of the challenges and obstacles that defenders face in the enjoyment of their rights to the core freedoms of association and peaceful assembly. She is also particularly interested in studying the facts that are necessary to devise an early-warning mechanism for the protection of defenders with a view to anticipating systematic threats against them by activating appropriate sectors of the national protection system. The Special Rapporteur also intends to intensify efforts on follow-up, collaborate with various stakeholders, popularize the Declaration on human rights defenders, and share good practices. Her report to the General Assembly included as an annex “Key messages on human rights defenders ten years after the adoption of the Declaration on human rights defenders, ten messages to raise awareness about defenders”.
II. UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW: ENHANCING THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
B. Assessment after three rounds
2. Compilation of United Nations information
65. Targeting of specific groups was mentioned in relation to women human rights defenders in Bahrain, Serbia and Zambia; indigenous groups particularly in South American States such as Ecuador and Peru, and Asian States such as India and the Philippines; rural groups in Serbia; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex groups in Eastern European States such as Poland and Serbia, and South American States such as Argentina and Ecuador; witnesses in Peru; and persons belonging to minorities in Israel.
3. Summary of stakeholder information: overview and analysis
72. Restrictions on the exercise of rights to freedom of human rights defenders included freedom of expression with regard to Bahrain, Morocco, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. Problems and restrictions relating to freedoms of peaceful assembly and association were mentioned in connection with Ecuador (criminalization of social protest), Morocco, Poland (assembly, campaigns for equality and relating to sexual orientation), Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates. Restrictions on the exercise of rights to freedom of movement of human rights defenders, in particular travel restrictions and the denial of exit and entry visas were highlighted in connection with Israel, Morocco, Tunisia and Uzbekistan.
74. Targeting of specific groups was mentioned in relation to women human rights defenders in Bahrain, Israel and Serbia; indigenous groups in Ecuador; defenders working on issues related to persons belonging to minorities in the Czech Republic (Roma), India (Dalits) and Turkmenistan; defenders working on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in Israel, Montenegro, the Republic of Korea, Serbia and Sri Lanka. Problems faced by defenders working on issues related to migrants were mentioned with regard to South Africa.
82. As for groups of defenders, the situation of women human rights defenders was mentioned in Zambia; the situation of and problems faced by activists working on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in Poland and Romania, and on marginalized groups in the Czech Republic was also mentioned.
Link to full text of the report: Report-SR Human Rights Defenders-2009-eng